Bio Earth Runners, a minimalist sandal, is finding a place in an increasingly crowded field of lightweight shoes designed to bring you down, closer to the ground. The trend of barefoot walking has taken a firm hold, popularized by survivalist Cody Lundin in the TV show Dual Survival, and a slew of Kenyan Olympic runners, who seem to possess superhuman power with nothing between them and Mother Earth but thick calluses. In cold, winter temperatures or very rough terrain a little sliver of protection is welcomed, like the Tarahumara Indians of Northern Mexico, who use a crude sandal for their long distance runs.
Bio Earth Runners
The Bio Earth Runner sandals look a bit like flip flops, with a strap between the toes, but have the added stability of an ankle strap. Creator Michael Dally was inspired to develop Earth Runners after this experience: “A friend and I found ourselves at a trailhead with only thong sandals and athletic tape, so we taped on our sandals—and the rest is history.” A copper plug secures the toe strap to the bottom of the sandal and copper is threaded through the upper part of the strap on top. The materials are earth-friendly, comprised of a custom molded, composite sole made from Tactile Mitosis tread and a moldable EVA BioTac bedding made of recycled car tires.
Dally encourages users to view video instructions for sizing and it does turn out to be somewhat complicated and non-intuitive, especially the side strap that twists under the bottom of the shoe through a slot. After the initial fitting session, though, they go on like any other shoe.
The sole of the Bio Earth Runners sandal is quite comfortable, molding to the foot with just enough give to soften the footstrike. During testing there were some problems with keeping the strap secure on the heel but after some adjustment that was resolved. During winter and to increase comfort toe socks such as those made by Injinji is recommended.
An interesting aspect of this product involves the “earthing” claims. Earthing, first described by Clint Ober in his book “Earthing: The Most Important Health Discovery Ever?”, is the controversial practice of obtaining healing properties from the earth by touching it directly, usually by walking barefoot. Said by earthers to reduce inflammation and heal everything from arthritis, stress and sleeping disorders to depression, other health care providers discount the claims as unfounded. Electricians know earthing as grounding, where an electrical circuit is connected to the ground. Earthers believe that they can discharge free radicals to the earth when connected with bare feet, or by using a plethora of products that have sprung up to aid the effort, such as earthing mats, sheets and rods. The Earth Runners website states that “Earth Runner’s barefoot technology offers energy flow between the foot and earth. Both our copper inserts and conductive laces ground you electrically by allowing electron transfer from the planet – direct to your body.” The copper plug and threads in the laces are fashionable but users will have to make their own decisions about the I can’t say that I felt anything different.
Dally is running a Kickstarter campaign to support development of the Bio Earth Runner, which has 18 backers who have contributed $1,407 toward the goal of $8000, with ten days to go. To support this effort see Kickstarter.com.
The soles of the Bio Earth Runners are flexible and comfortable. At 9 3/8 ounces they are a lightweight sandal.
The fitting of the sandal straps takes some time to perfect. The scientific evidence for the earthing claims is lacking, but time will tell.
The Bio Earth Runner sandals are a lightweight sandal that take some effort to fit initially. The sole of the sandal is comfortable and, for earthing fans, the copper inserts will be welcome.
Bio Earth Runner sandals
Weight: 9 3/8 ounces
Material: Custom molded, composite sole consisting of Tactile Mitosis tread, moldable EVA (6mm) BioTac bedding made of recycled car tires.
Price: Four different models available on Earth Runners from $45-65
$60 to support Earth Runners Kickstarter campaign
Photos by Inga Aksamit except where noted.
Disclosure of Material Connection: I received the Bio Earth Runners for free from Earth Runners as coordinated by Deep Creek PR an Outdoor Retailer Public Relations Company in consideration for review publication.